All The Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues, and perhaps so do all the worst villains. The primary LOST connection for me in The Thing You Love Most, the second episode of Once Upon a Time, was patricide. Sadly, that was a fairly common occurrence on LOST, especially if you expand it to encompass immediate family members in general. Thinking back, I believe the first occurrence of a character killing his or her father was early in the second season, with Kate, but it certainly wasn’t the last.
On LOST, the dads who bit the dust at the hands of a son or daughter were varying degrees of jerks, from Roger Linus, who found it so difficult to nurture the son whose birth killed the woman he loved, to Anthony Cooper, who, to my mind, competes only with Keamy for the title of most evil character on the show. (Well, Smokey's pretty rotten too, but he had a long time and a lot of supernatural power to give him a leg up there.) Here, however, the victim was someone who appears, by all accounts, to have been a very good man indeed. His daughter killed him not because she despised him but because she loved him. Both shows incorporate patricide as a sort of twisted rite of passage, something a character does under some duress to achieve a sought-after goal. But it felt particularly painful in this case.
Like The Man Behind the Curtain, this is an episode that made you feel sorrier for the villain at times and more disdainful at others. Generally, however, revulsion overpowered pity for me here. The queen’s only true aim is revenge, which is never a worthwhile goal and certainly not a valid reason to murder the one person who has always cared for you. We still don’t know precisely how Snow White ruined her rival’s life, but it’s wrapped up somehow in Snow White’s father, whom the queen loved. Is it her very existence that she resents? It seems to be something more specific than that, one particular instance that ruined everything for her. Perhaps as a child, Snow White got herself into a perilous situation and her father died saving her. I imagine it’s something comparably dramatic.
We met Maleficent in this episode, and considering that she may just be Disney’s most intimidating villain ever, she didn’t make much of a splash here. She really didn’t seem frightening at all, and certainly not as evil as the queen. I liked their duel, like a shortened version of the Gandalf-Saruman showdown, but she just wasn't very intimidating. The only other major character to emerge for the first time was the queen’s father, whose name, it was revealed, was Henry. So even though she doesn’t seem to remember her past in Storybrooke, at least not fully, the love of her father is ingrained enough in her for her to have named her adopted son after him. But her murder the most important person in her life poisoned that relationship from the outset. I wonder if Henry’s storybook mentions what happened to the queen’s father. Perhaps someday he will come to feel some empathy for her, but her wicked choices have undoubtedly set her on a lonely path.
I love the gently developing relationship between Emma and Henry, as well as Emma’s friendship with Snow White, who looks more like her sister than her mother. Henry’s psychiatrist, Jiminy Cricket in his own world, seems like a good guy too, albeit too much under the queen’s thumb. Rumpelstiltskin is creepy in an Eloise Hawking sort of way, and I get the sense that he knows more than the queen does about what is going on. It seems that aside from Henry, he is the only one who fully understands that they are not where they should be.
While elements of this episode reminded me of LOST, I didn’t catch any Easter eggs, though I am under the impression that there were some. I’ll have to look again more closely. But Easter eggs or not, this was another compelling episode with even more emotional resonance than the first.